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At a time when vocations to the priesthood and religious life are on the decline, it was wonderful to attend the celebration, on Sunday August 18th, of the Athenry Reunion of Priests and Religious. It was hearting to see so many religious and priests return from different parts of the world to celebrate the Mass with the people of the parish and to rejoice in their vocation.

There has been always a great respect for our religious in Athenry. We would hope that the reunion would inspire some younger people to consider dedicating their lives in a vocation to the priesthood or religious life and to keep this great tradition alive in Athenry parish.

The occasion did not just happen by chance. It took a good deal of hard work and organization, especially by my school friend, Monsignor Michael Higgins and this should be acknowledged and appreciated. It was not only a reunion of priests and religious but it was also a time of renewal for families and friends.

Parishioners like to meet and to renew their friendships and to reminisce about the past. It gave an opportunity to share about their ministry in different parts of the world. The reunion afforded an opportunity for anyone who was interested to come and it was wonderful to have a crowded church for the great event.

Athenry is numbered among famous places and ranks high on the list of heritage towns. We should be proud to be natives of this historical parish which has become so famous in song and story. Our greatest pride should be the fact that we have so many men and women who have answered the call to follow Christ in the Religious life and the Priesthood and have spread the Gospel in many lands. We hope that a seed may have been sown on that August day and that it will bear fruit in years to come.

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Written by Eamonn Brady

Published here 15 Jan 2023 and originally published December 1996

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